Sunday, 21 April 2013

PSG vs Nice: Problems for Puel, Carlo condemns Ibra exit talk

We all have our problems to deal with in life.
I'm currently wrestling with the depressing reality of having turned 30 last week; good bye youth and exuberance, hello baldness and middle-age. Well, hopefully not immediately, especially in the case of the former.

According to wikipedia, Nice coach Claude Puel is 51, yet the former Lyon boss still has a fine head of hair so I guess there's hope for me yet. Puel's problems are not age-related, but more in the injury and suspension department.

Because a host of Les Aiglons' players will be absent when Nice visit the Parc des Princes tonight to take on Paris Saint-Germain. As well as a trio of suspensions, Puel will have to do without 16-year-old sensation Neal Maupay, who ruptured his cruciate ligaments in a reserve game last week.

"We travel to Paris without [the suspended] Valentin Eysseric, Eric Bauthéac and Alexy Bosetti, who can offer us solutions off the bench," rued Puel. "We have six games left and we want to fight for the best possible finish. We all know how good Paris are, but we're not going to start worrying about our opponents now."

Puel does have Dario Cvitanich to call upon, and the Argentinean striker, who was a thorn in PSG's expensive backside when the sides met at the Stade du Ray earlier in the season, will be looking to inspire Nice to a victory which would take them up to fourth in the table.

December's meeting between the sides ended in a 2-1 win for Puel's men, and if PSG perform like they did in Tuesday's disappointing Coupe de France defeat to Evian, there's every chance that result could be repeated.

Mindful that our last defeat to Nice nearly ended in him getting the boot, Carlo Ancelotti plans to recall the A-Team for this evening's match. Sadly this doesn't include Hannibal, Face or Mr T, but does feature the likes of Sirigu, Maxwell and Lavezzi. Thiago Motta is suspended, and Lucas is likely to miss out with rib-knack, so either Menez or Chantome will play on the right of midfield.

Meanwhile Carlo was forced to react to comments from Zlatan Ibrahimovic's busybody interfering super agent Mino Raiola that Ibra might be on his way at the end of the season.

"I have a very good relationship with Ibrahimovic is a player who has really helped the team this season," said Carlo, never afraid to state the bleeding obvious. "I think Ibrahimovic is sure be here next year."

So there you go, that's settled. On his own future, Ancelotti, who has been linked with Real Madrid for a few months now, added that he isn't planning on going anywhere.

"My position is very clear and I feel fine," he said. "We are focused on the league and then we'll have time to do all the other things. 

"Coaching a team here [in France], England or Italy, the problems are the same. You have to deal with tough times or good times, but the work is the same."

Kick-off at the Parc tonight is at 8pm English time.


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